Ousmane Dembele scored the only goal of the match as Barcelona defeated 10-man Real Sociedad 1-0 at the Camp Nou on Wednesday to book their place in the Copa del Rey semi-finals.
Dembele, who was in form that night, fired home in the 52nd minute, beating goalkeeper Alex Remiro at his near post after winning a through ball from Jules Conde.
Bryce Mendes was earlier sent off for a reckless challenge against Sergio Busquets, but even if he dropped a player no real It was nearly tied when Alexander Sorloth missed an open goal from six yards.
Barcelona will regret not taking their chances to finish, with Jaffe hitting the woodwork and goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen thanking him for late stops from Robert Navarro and John Ander Olasagasti.
1. The arrival of the eleventh Barcelona concert, enough has been done
The best periods in Barcelona’s recent history have often been accompanied by the clearly defined ‘Gala XI’ – the term local media give to the first-choice team. Under Xavi, the Celebrating Eleven wasn’t always a clear cut, but now it appears to be.
against no real, the Barcelona coach lined up with the same team that easily beat Real Madrid to win the Spanish Cup recently: Ter Stegen in the goal, four defenses by Conde, Ronald Araujo, Andreas Christensen and Alejandro Balde; midfield from Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, Pedri and Javi; And a front line from Dembele and Robert Lewandowski.
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The first 30 minutes here were great, even if there were no goals. The football was good, there was an offside goal and missed chances from Conde, De Jong and Dembele. On another day, Barcelona would score twice against an in-form opponent who came to the Camp Nou on a nine-game winning streak.
Mendes’ red card cemented Barcelona’s dominance and they eventually broke the deadlock early in the second half. What followed was not good. Barcelona failed to score a second goal and in the end were hanging on, with Sorloth missing one and Ter Stegen making two huge chests late on.
2. Dembele lived up to Xavi’s praise with the game winner
Xavi has repeated throughout his tenure as Barcelona coach that Dembele, a well-trained and consistent performer, can be one of the best players in the world. The Frenchman now regularly produces match-winning performances.
Wednesday’s performance wasn’t just about his goal. it was all. His speed was intense. It was his decision. He was creating his chance. Real Sociedad couldn’t stop him. It was unplayable. His goal was excellently scored and he also opened up chances for De Jong and Gavi, the latter hitting the crossbar.
3. Mendez costs red no real their winning run
Real Sociedad have been one of the best teams in Spain this season, but Mendes’ sacking ended any hopes they had of extending their winning streak in all competitions to 10 matches. They weathered Barcelona’s storm in the first half when their midfielder was sent off.
Already without the injured David Silva and Mikel Merino, dropping down to 10 men made a difficult task at the Camp Nou almost impossible. However, even with man-less, they came close to equalizing through Sorloth, who didn’t want to see a repeat of his foul from six yards out, before substitutes Navarro and Olassagaste brought the best of the best from Ter Stegen.
no real Now they are turning their attention back to LaLiga. They travel to Real Madrid on Sunday and can move into the same level as Carlo Ancelotti’s side with a win at the Santiago Bernabeu. They also stayed in the Europa League.
The best and worst performers
Best: Ousmane Dembele, Barcelona
At the center of almost everything Barcelona has done is an amazing performance.
Best: Jules Conde, Barcelona
After Dembele, few Barcelona players impressed, but Conde’s contribution in defense and attack – setting up the goal and almost scoring himself – was notable.
The best: Take Cobo, Real Sociedad
The brightest player in the away team, hitting the crossbar in the first half and causing problems with his pace and precise control in the second half.
Worst: Bryce Mendes, Real Sociedad
He could have no complaints about his red card in the first half due to Busquets’ big challenge.
Worst: Alexander Sorloth, Real Sociedad
The Norway striker produced a favorite to miss for the season, turning the bar from six yards out with a goal difference.
Worst: Robert Lewandowski, Barcelona
A rare night for the Poland international, who has already scored 22 goals for Barcelona this season.
Highlights and notable moments
Ousmane Dembele is having a stellar year because of plays and goals like this.
Dimple what a hit! 🚀🚀🚀 pic.twitter.com/ivFYy0ZsVU
– ESPN FC (ESPNFC) January 25, 2023
Even with 10 men down, Real Sociedad held their way until the final whistle, keeping Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen on his toes.
Ter Stegen cleans up his own mess pic.twitter.com/fYareNysyy
– ESPN FC (ESPNFC) January 25, 2023
An attempt to save the game by the German there after a huge mistake at the start.
After the match: what the managers and players said
Real Sociedad manager Imanol Alguacel, on the result: “We’re upset because we wanted to qualify. It’s difficult here 11-11 against Barcelona in their current form, so imagine…but we knew we were going to get chances. We were close, even with one less man.
“I don’t usually like the word proud because it means you lost and we came to win. The red card represents the game. We competed, and we had chances to draw. But against Barcelona, in his form, with a player like Dembele, it’s complicated. In the last 10 minutes they looked more tense and seemed to be 1-1 is more likely than 2-2. It still hurts, I’m upset.
Alguacil on Mendez’s red card: “If I were the referee and called on to look at the picture, I would do the same. But it’s football and I’m sure Xavi would agree with me that without VAR every other moment would pass.”
Key stats (courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info)
Barcelona won six of the seven matches scored by Osman Dembele this season, with the exception of the Champions League group stage match against Inter Milan (3-3 draw).
Barcelona continues their winning streak at home to Real Sociedad, which now stands at 27 matches.
Barcelona: The first team in LaLiga return to action with a trip to Girona on Saturday. Three more league matches (Real Betis, Sevilla, Villarreal) before the Europa League season returns with the first leg against Manchester United (February 16) at the Camp Nou.
Real Sociedad: Another measuring stick test for the San Sebastian side. This time a trip to Real Madrid in Sunday’s match between the second and third placed teams in LaLiga.